Tag Archives: macadamia nuts

Medjool Date And Cranberry Balls With Chia And Macadamia

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Truth be known – I adore Medjool dates, and think they are fabulous simply eaten as is. Their soft, sweet, distinct caramel flavour, can’t be beat.

But you take that flavour and add it with other goodies like chia seeds, spices, coconut, and nuts and you get date balls. They are my latest obsession, and they might become yours too.

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The dried cranberries can be left out entirely. But I quite like the tart flavour they add. Instead of cinnamon you might use mixed spice, ground ginger, or even a pinch of nutmeg. As an alternative to rolling them in coconut you might roll them in sesame seeds, or raw cacao. But I love anything rolled in coconut…

As long as the Medjool dates you buy are fresh, these balls will last for up to a month in an airtight container in the fridge. That is if they aren’t eaten well before then.

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Medjool date and cranberry balls with chia seed and macadamia nuts 

Ingredients

1 tbsp black chia seeds

150g macadamia nuts

450g Medjool dates 

80g dried cranberries

1 tsp cinnamon 

1 cup shredded coconut 

Place the chia seeds in a small bowl with 1/4 cup cold water. Whisk till combined and stand for 10 minutes. The chia seeds will swell up and turn to a gel consistency.

Meanwhile, roast the macadamia nuts in a moderate oven (180C) for about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, place in a food processor and blitz to a rough crumb. Set aside.

Break open the dates and remove the pip. Roughly chop the dates and place in a food processor with the cranberries. Add the soaked chia seeds and cinnamon. Blitz the mix till the dates are well combined. In the final 30 seconds add the chopped macadamia nuts, the mix should come together in a ball.

Divide the mix into about 20 balls, rolling them between your finger tips and the palm of your hand. Place them on a tray. On a second tray, lay the shredded coconut. Roll each ball in the coconut till covered all over.

Store them in an air tight container out of the fridge. Eat within one month.

Basil and Macadamia Nut Pesto

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I feel like getting back to basics. I’m officially on holidays from my food editor job, and the past weeks have seen all manner of festive dishes cooked, tested and prepared for the magazine. I feel I’ve already cooked my way through Christmas fare and now I just crave some simple food that requires no recipe, no testing, no oven!

I can think of no better condiment to make in summer than basil pesto. What makes this pesto truly special is replacing the traditional pine nuts with macadamia nuts. The creamy consistency of macadamia nuts is just what the sweet perfumed basil requires. It’s a match made in heaven. 

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My son – and I must say I’m absolutely ecstatic about this – discovered he likes to eat my pesto with crackers. He actually polished off the entire bowl the other day and instead of lecturing him on how greedy that was, I was congratulating him on finally discovering the wonders of freshly made pesto. One child down, one to go.

 

Basil and macadamia nut pesto 

Ingredients 

1 1/2 cups picked and washed basil leaves

80g (1/2 cup) raw macadamia nuts

1 small clove garlic, chopped

1 small lemon, juiced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan

Sea salt

Black pepper

 

Place all the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor, blitz till nuts are a chunky consistency and basil is well combined. Check seasoning and adjust with extra salt, pepper or lemon juice.

TIP – washing the basil enlivens the vibrant green colour and gives you a bright green finish to the pesto. Pesto stores in the fridge for several days.

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate, Avocado and Macadamia Nut Brownie

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When I first started out as an apprentice chef (all those years ago) I would of never considered combing avocado and chocolate. No Way! I would of screwed my nose up and shouted “don’t be ridiculous”. But these days, I’m excited by the idea.

Last year I experimented with chocolate and beetroot and found this combination to be earthy and tasty, and right. I feel much the same about combing avocado with chocolate; there’s an earthiness, and richness, and a depth to the taste; it’s perfect baked into a brownie. It’s fun.

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A pinch of sea salt can do marvellous things when used with chocolate. I added some to the avocado, which was then folded through the melted chocolate and this gives the chocolate that salted kick. It takes the edge away from the sugar and balances the chocolate in a most alluring way.

Macadamia nuts are native to Australia and I find myself using them in everything. I love them in this brownie. You might consider hazelnuts or walnuts, but macadamias have a creamy nuttiness that work so humbly beside the avocado.

Generally speaking, I like my brownie pretty fudge like, you know, almost under cooked. The brownie I’ve photographed needed five minutes less – damn phone ringing – 18-minutes would be perfect for fudge-like brownie, 22-25 minutes for those who like it cooked through.

 

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Because I’m mad about bitter chocolate, when the brownie came out of the oven, I grated some Venezuelan 100% cocoa chocolate on top. I also dusted it with cocoa, this was probably an over kill.

My five year old can longer tell me she doesn’t like avocado because, ha, she ate it in this brownie and never knew the difference! I will forever use this an an example that she REALLY DOES like avocado.

Chocolate, Avocado and Macadamia Nut Brownie – makes 15 pieces

Ingredients 

200g 70% cocoa chocolate

125g butter

2 eggs

150g ( 2/3 cup) caster sugar

150g (1 cup) plain flour

1 large avocado

1/4 cup milk

pinch sea salt

80g (1/2 cup) macadamia nuts

To serve – optional

Dutch cocoa for dusting

 

Pre heat oven to 170C. Line a 30cm by 20cm tray with baking paper.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a medium bowl with the butter. Place the bowl over a shallow pot of simmering water and allow the chocolate to melt. Remove from the heat, stir till smooth and well combined. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes till light and fluffy.

Place the avocado flesh, milk and sea salt in a food processor and blitz till smooth (if you don’t have a food processor you could mash the avocado with a fork, add the milk after it’s mashed and try to get it as smooth as possible).

Add the pureed avocado to the warm melted chocolate and stir to combine. Add the chocolate and avocado to the eggs and sugar and fold gently. Sift the flour onto the chocolate mix, add the chopped macadamias and fold till just combined. Pour into the lined tray, and evenly smooth out the batter, Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes – if you like it soft and gooey, or 22-25 minutes – if you like it a little firmer.

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes. It’s optional at this point to grate some extra chocolate on top (whilst it’s still warm). Remove brownie from tin and cool on a wire rack. Cut into desired pieces, and dust with cocoa, or sprinkle with sea salt, if you wish. Store in an air tight container for 3 days.